Northern California elementary school principals' perceptions of teacher equity characteristics

The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand elementary school principals’ perceptions about what teachers need to know and be able to do in the classroom in order to teach all students equitably. In addition, this study sought to understand what attitudes and belief systems are needed by teachers in order for them to effectively meet the needs of all students. More specifically the researcher sought to understand whether teachers have an awareness of the culturally relevant needs specifically for disadvantaged students. For the purpose of this study, the researcher identified disadvantaged students as students of color and students in poverty. A qualitative analysis using semi-structured interviews was conducted with the help of 10 elementary school principals located in 3 northern California school districts. The researcher used a social justice and equity lens to guide the research process. The principals shared their understanding of equitable educational practices. They also reported on the challenges that they face to keep up with state and district mandates. Finally, implications and recommendations were made regarding research, practice and educational policy.